In which nobody wanted to ask the questions except…

by Craig on December 11, 2010

I envision an upper room in house with light brown walls. They would be made of stone but plastered with mud and straw.

Lamps would have lent a fireplace kind of glow to the room. Cushions would have lined the floor and the mood would have been light, happy, festive.

Hymns would have been sung, maybe tambourines, dancing, Maybe a lute playing and a drum.

But I think there would have been two solemn figures in the place. One would be Judas, he had things on his mind. The other would have been Our Lord. This would have been the third Passover dinner he shared with them. But it was different. He knew it would be the last.

Our Lord was about to do a number of things that would seem baffling. Confusion would start slowly, but would increase as the evening unfolded. Why, for instance was their teacher so silent, so pensive this night? Why was Judas so removed?

Their teacher washed their feet and explained, though they didn’t get it now, they’d understand later. Why not just tell them now?

And he stated, maybe with a little sadness in his voice, that one of them was not clean. But he had washed everyone’s feet. Did they miss something? This teacher of theirs was always about instructing them in creative ways.

Maybe as they looked around at each other, wondering, asking silently, puzzled – he may have looked directly at “the one”. But with everyone so preoccupied with bewilderment, they missed it. They always missed it. I always miss it.

And he disclosed that one of them would betray him. Now they were listening. Now they were worried. Now they were catching on to the solemnity. They were a muddled mess.

“The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.” (JN 13:22)

There would be many glances between disturbed and confounded apostles ahead. Everyone had questions, nobody was brave enough to ask. Peter, the brash and brave one, was suddenly bashful. He signaled secretly to John who was sitting next to Our Lord. Without a word saying, “”You, you ask him. You do it.” We always assume that John wanted to ask this question. Why? After all he didn’t do it until after Peter nodded at him.

Then Judas left early and only Jesus really understood why.

Their teacher explained that now was the time for him to be glorified. What did that mean? Was he going to explain any of this dramatically cryptic stuff?

Then it became more cryptic. He would be leaving them and they couldn’t follow him. They’d followed him for three years. Was he done with them? Wasn’t there more left to do? What? Were they just supposed to go back to fishing, and tax collecting after he told them they could never look back on that old life?

Then there was something about his father having many houses and he was leaving to make them ready. But some of them knew his father – he didn’t have many houses. Was he talking about the other one though, his Heavenly Father? When were the clues to be dropped? What was he talking about? They had no idea where he was going. But still, nobody asked.

Peter would be so unsettled that he’d make wild promises about dying for Jesus – and be told he wouldn’t even admit to knowing him. What would this have done to me? I would have sulked and remained in convicted silence for the rest of the night. Is this what Peter did?

We know things were getting heavy because Our Lord told them not to let their heart be troubled. They would remain troubled anyway. We never listen. I never listen.

Peter would now be silent. John was forced by Peter to ask one question already – so he was done. And now came this mysterious “I’m leaving, and you know where I’m going, to prepare houses, in a place they knew – but nobody was grasping a single thing – and nobody was asking for clarification.

Until one of them had enough with all the cryptic.

One would break this ice of mystery.

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (JN 14:5)

Excellent questions. It was about time. Somebody had to ask. Did Peter maybe nod again, but this time to the one he knew would speak up?

Tell us more about this leaving, and how we’ll be able to find you again. I would have wanted to know too. This is the second time this “doubter” of the Gospels speaks. And he’s only asking what everyone in the room wanted to – but were afraid to ask. This is the second time he put them all to shame. Once by a statement – now by a question.

And once he paved the way for them, once he blazed the path, only now would others follow his lead. Phillip spoke up, then Judas (the other one). The mysteries would now start coming fast and furious – but only because one person was brave enough to ask a question.

My hero.

God Bless.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie December 12, 2010 at 1:42 am

So thankful for those who ask . . .and may I too, not be afraid to know so that I can ask as well! Thank you!
And Craig . . .great writing. :)

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Craig December 12, 2010 at 9:27 am

Deb, I’m so thankful he WANTS us to ask. You are too nice. Thank you so much for reading me. God Bless You.

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Anonymuss December 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

This series of articles on Thomas is really casting him in a different light for me. Questions matter, and I am glad the bible records his courage (if it was that) in asking the ones he does. I have hit a phase in my life where I have many, many questions. And though some say women are to be quiet and learn submissively (and presumably without questions in the most mangled of interpretations), I am all about questions and answers now. I feel my spiritual survival depends upon it. Crait, thank you for pointing out this very enlightening example of one who asked questions!

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Craig December 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Oh boy don’t get me started on the verses misconstrued about women learning quietly and submissively – I’m in a pretty feisty mood right now and those people don’t want to hear from me. There is NO MALE OR FEMALE – have we forgotten THAT verse in Galatians 3 – can we start there!

They make me ANGRY!!!!!

A. you are a child of God, a daughter of heaven, it is your right and responsibility to find answers to your questions – if people don’t have the answers or aren’t willing to help you in your search – there are plenty within the body of Our Lord who can.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRr.

Ok, praying now, bitterness go away – peace – ok – done.

A. God bless you. I love having you here in my ever so tiny corner of the internet.

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Anonymuss December 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

Craig, I hear you. I agree. Why do so many let the women ‘out’ just long enough to receive their salvation in Christ (lip service to neither male nor female in Christ…), then quickly put them back in ball and chain for the duration of their earthly tenure as newly adopted siblings in Christ and then work so hard to try to convince them that the ball and chain really isn’t a ball and chain? I hear your GRRRR. I know it, too, because I feel the deep injustice of it all. I feel the anger at the deep injustice of it all. I weep for the many, many who are caught up in the darkness and death of it all.

I am very, very grateful that your tiny corner of the internet is filled with light and love and understanding. and empathy. you know how to really put yourself in another’s shoes.

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Craig December 13, 2010 at 8:58 pm

A. I’m only just learning.

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Melissa December 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Smiles.

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Craig December 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Melissa – you are one powerful blessing. I am so thankful you found me way way back when I began blogging all those many many – err – days – weeks ago. When I first found your blog and all the inspiration that reading your words have provided. It’s just all been a blessing. So thank you. God Bless you.

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Melissa December 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I just listened to a wonderful message (God’s Most Amazing Creation) regarding the issue of male and female by Kris Vallatton. If you care to listen, you can download it for free at: http://www.ibethel.org/site/sermon-of-the-week. Blessings!

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Craig December 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm

just downloaded it – thank you :)

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